At our Ethiopia farm a controlled burn got out of hand. About half of the farm was on fire, fortunately no people, animals or structures were damaged. The fire raced across the farm and started onto the neighboring community property. Abera, the farm manager responded quickly to get and keep the situation under control. There were a few false banana trees that were damaged in addition to the loss of many acres of pasture. Abera is assessing the total damage.
During all of the commotion there were a few of the less reputable citizens that tried to come in and steal cattle. The guards were able to protect the cattle and keep the thieves away.
Fires during the dry season in Ethiopia are a very scary thing because they do not have the resources to fight them that we do. This fire was over 100 acres so it really stirred up the community. In order to calm the tension, Abera invited the neighboring community officials and villagers to an "apology ceremony" where we made a formal apology for the fire and killed a fatten bull to feast on as part of the ceremony. You can see the bull waiting in the background for his key role in the negotiations.
Abera did a great job of quickly handling the situation and calming the tensions in the village. It is educational to be so closely involved with another culture that is so different from our own. I love to learn about their perceptions of situations and how they resolve their differences.